JBL Expedition 2016: Day 4 - Jungle Walk at the Remote Camp

On the fourth day we set out in good time again to reach our remote destination: the so-called Jungle Walk, near the Water Lilly Camp.

We used speed boats for a two-hour ride which would take us about 60 km away to our partner camp. On arrival we took the opportunity to explore the area in the clear but somehow still cloudy whitewater.

We quickly discovered many differently coloured algaevorous snails of the genus Neritina, which were to be found on the mangroves under and above the water. At the shore zone and in the swanp area, which had been was exposed by the low tide, we found fiddler crabs and other small crab species, which we will determine later using our photos. In about 2 months you will be able to view the complete expedition report with measurement data, species list and lots of pictures and videos under Spedizioni .

Under water we found some tetras, which we had also seen on the previous days. But we spotted Guyana leaffish and an armored catfish (presumably Pterygoplichthys ) for the first time.

Meanwhile our guides had prepared lunch over an open fire. Afterwards the group entered the jungle. Here we wore long sleeves and trousers and rubber boots and covered our bodies completely. We followed our guide while gaining impression of the plant diversity in the dense jungle. The ground was muddy and we often sank in knee-deep. It was an interesting but arduous hike. On the way our guide showed us how to clear the path using a machete, how to drink water out of lianas, what palm hearts taste like, what the bleeding tree is and how natives communicate with it, what plants can be used as natural medication (antibiotics) and how a water supply is possible in the jungle via small coconuts.

To our delight, but not to the delight of the individual concerned, we found a scorpion on one of our group member’s T-shirt, and this became a popular photo motif.

We then spotted a black-yellowish thorn spider on a tree and were even lucky enough to meet some aggressive wasps.

Without help from others finding your way and going forward through the jungle is slow and barely possible. The midday sun meant that we only saw a few animals, since they avoid the heat for their own protection.

After we’d completed our walk, we all went back into the water to cool down, snorkel and to watch for further species from under a water lily slope.

Darkness broke and we had to make our way back. Unfortunately one of the outboard motors had broken down and we made slow progress. The fuel and the oil had become mixed and made the outboard unusable. Since the area is plagued by water hyacinths, blockades had been set up, which made it difficult for the boats to pass. The fields were like thick bushes with strong branches, which were crushed by the rotors and pushed aside by the bow of the boat. This quickly took its toll on the motors. We stopped en route at a waterside village and called our camp via satellite telephone to order another boat for help. We were still more than 30 km away from the camp. But we drove on to meet out helpers halfway. Unfortunately the missing motor performance caused another problem and we got stuck inside a large field of water hyacinths. We had already been on the water for 3 hours and dark night had fallen. Fortunately for us, 2 rescue boats reached us less than half an hour later. But they also had problems with the field. After we had changed to another boat in the middle of the Orinoco the boats alternatively towed one other out of the hyacinths and we finally arrived at the camp after about four hours of driving. The rest of the group was waiting for us anxiously.

A real adventure, which, thanks to the communication with the camp, ended well! We were already getting used to the idea of a night on the boat.

Because of the many requests in the last few days we have put together another gallery for you, which shows our first camp with its kitchen, sanitary facilities and accommodation units. The cook prepares local fish and poultry in the field kitchen. On the photo you can see a tiger sorubim. The toilets were flushed with river water and the toilet paper had to be thrown into rubbish bins. The showers also worked using river water. The huts, which were right next to the water, were shared by 5 people and offered a fantastic view of the Orinoco.

© 19.04.2016
Matthias Wiesensee
Matthias Wiesensee
M.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik
JBL GmbH & Co. KG

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